Taking care of our skin health goes beyond topical treatments and skincare products. What we eat can have a significant impact on the health, especially our skin, but can be confusing on where and how to start. Let's dive into different areas to look into to start eating for more clear skin!
Include a lean protein with each meal. Ensure animal protein is organic or grass-fed and fish is wild caught. Plant-based protein sources must be varied to include all essential amino acids.
The portion size of animal protein is a palm size. A portion of plant based protein is 1-2 palms. Protein helps to keep u fuller for longer, and ensures more stability in our blood sugar. This means blood sugar spikes and crashes are avoided and craving minimized.
Include a mainly monosaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs) in your diet daily. Sources are extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocado, full-fat coconut milk, nuts, and seeds. A portion of this is roughly a thumb size.
Healthy fats and omega 3 for the skin decrease inflammation and protect the skin barrier. Acne is mainly an inflammatory skin disorder so reducing inflammation is essential.
Fruits and Vegetables
Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables. These are substances that prevent the damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Phytonutrients, micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins such as zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C are found in fruits and vegetables. These have beneficial effects on the skin.
Fruits and vegetables contain fibre which helps with digestion and elimination of toxins so they don't continue to circulate through the body. The micronutrient and vitamin content also supports liver detoxification. Focus on low glycemic fruits and a rainbow of vegetables.
Gut health is a huge part of skin health through what is called the gut-skin axis. This is the relationship between the two systems so what is happening in the gut can be reflected in the skin.
Fermented foods contain microbes which can offer the gut some probiotic benefits. Probiotics are "good" live bacteria, and some yeasts, which live within the body. In this case, i'm referring to those within the microbiome.
We can also support our gut with prebiotic foods which are food for the probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics are typically fibre-containing foods, and a few of those are onions, artichokes, bananas, and garlic.
The glycemic load of food is the measure of how much certain foods can raise blood glucose levels after eating. This can also depend on the order in which food is consumed and not just the individual food.
When the glycemic load is high, blood glucose is continuously being raised. Insulin is then released to bring blood glucose levels back to "normal." Increased insulin causes more androgen hormones (male sex hormones) to be released and increases insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels. This makes skin cells grow quicker whilst also increasing sebum production.
To improve acne, the goal is to reduce the glycemic load.
- Processed foods; causes inflammation and high insulin.
- Refined sugar; increases insulin, androgens, and then sebum production.
- Artificial sweeteners; leads to insulin resistance.
- Dairy unless it is fermented; increases circulation levels of insulin due to IGF-1.
- High red meat intake; contains BCAAs which increase sebum production.
- Spicy foods; creates excess heat in the body.
- Excess omega 6:3 leads to inflammation.
- Fatty foods with high trans fats.
- Common food sensitivities if choosing to do an elimination diet with a practitioner.